Knowing where to start might be challenging when looking for a new school environment for your child. In addition to public schools, there are charter schools that provide students with the same quality of tuition-free education.
The first step in finding a good charter school is researching what type of program or programs the school offers. Charter Schools come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many options in Ventura County. You should ensure that the curriculum and coursework support your child’s needs and interests. Also, consider how many hours per day and days per year the school operates and whether any extracurricular activities might appeal to your child’s interests (e.g., music, sports). Our classroom based school operates 176 school days, August through June, whereas our hybrid homeschool provides a more individualized schedule for learning. Finally, make sure to connect with the parents and teachers to answer any questions that would help you decide whether our school would work well for your family.
Before making a decision, it is critical to consider the following criteria:
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a public school run as a non-profit organization instead of by the local district. Because of this, Charter schools offer greater flexibility than traditional schools.
There are some key differences between Charter schools and traditional public schools:
- Charter schools are public, tuition-free schools that receive funding from a variety of sources, including state taxes, grants, awards, and private donations. This means parents don’t have to pay for their child’s education at a charter school, regardless of its location or curriculum.
- Charter schools have autonomy over their curriculum. They can choose to teach certain subjects or change their course offerings without as much red tape from state officials or local officials overseeing regular public schools.
- Charter schools have different schedules and more scheduling flexibility. Charter schools have taken advantage of their flexibility to make alternative decisions that support their students’ success.
- Charter schools are not subject to regulations that traditional public schools must follow. For example, charter school teachers may be allowed to teach in an alternative mode of education, such as homeschooling or online learning. We also are able to adapt our curriculum to meet the child’s needs.
- Charter schools are not bound by union contracts like teachers’ unions are in traditional public school districts. Charter teachers often enjoy better job security than their counterparts at district-run systems.
Charter schools are an excellent choice for parents who want their kids to have a great education but don’t want to send them to a traditional public school. They are also perfect for parents who want to give their children the best education possible in an environment that is more relaxed and community based.
Benefits of Charter Schools
If you’re considering a charter school, choosing one has many benefits. Here are just a few:
- Charter schools tend to be smaller and more flexible than regular public schools. This means they’ll be able to better accommodate your child’s needs and see them succeed in ways other schools might not.
- Charter schools offer innovative programs and curriculum options that aren’t always available at other schools. Some even have specializations like creative arts programs, student leadership, robotics or coding—not available elsewhere!
- Charter school students often have greater access to resources than regular public school students, which can help them feel less isolated when they need extra help with homework or projects requiring specialized knowledge or equipment.
- Charter schools tend to have higher graduation rates than regular public ones, which means less time spent trying to figure out how the system works before you get results!
The Challenges of a Charter School
Charter schools are often considered the best option for parents who want their children to receive a better education than what they would get at a traditional school. While it’s true that charter schools are an excellent way for students to learn and grow, it’s essential to consider the challenges that come along with this type of education.
The main challenges someone might have when considering a charter school program are:
- Charter schools often have greater community involvement, and it is a choice for families to be involved.
- The curriculum may be considerably different from what children are accustomed to. Therefore, they may require time to acclimate and become accustomed to their new surroundings.
- There may be some hesitation with trusting that a school focusing on community, creative arts, social emotional learning, and project based learning can be academically rigorous and compete with traditional schools.
How Can Teachers, Parents, and Students Overcome These Challenges?
First, realize that charter schools often have a wide network of support, and it is often easier to have your questions answered by parents, teachers, or administrators than at traditional schools.
Second, recognize that every charter school has its’ own systems of support and expectations for students, teachers, and families which may look different than traditional public schools.
Third, parents should be aware that their children are not attending school in a traditional setting. They should know that autonomy and freedom their children may have in charter schools is created by design.
Because of this flexibility and the variety of programs offered in charter schools, a successful charter school program needs more than just great teachers and administrators. It also requires parents who are committed to helping their children learn what they need to know to succeed when they leave their classrooms daily.
Charter schools are a great way to give parents more control over their children’s education. Whether you’re looking for a school that caters specifically to your child’s needs or offers an environment of learning with open-ended opportunities, there is something out there for everyone.
At Bridges Charter School, education is a shared endeavor. The philosophy that guides our educators is that they are all teachers and learners in the educational community. They think of the classroom as a rich, always-changing place that considers the different ways students learn while creating a meaningful curriculum. Students’ interests and passions are their primary motivators. They can, however, remember to be motivated by opportunities to try new things and get better in areas they think are ready for growth. The best place for a child to learn is in a loving, safe, and supportive environment that also values the child’s uniqueness, interests, and skills. Thus, the impact of positive interpersonal relationships between classroom and community members cannot be understated. It is through these positive, collaborative interactions that learning will best occur.
The mission of Bridges Charter School is to give every student an amazing educational experience while building a community of students nourished with curiosity, compassion, independence, resourcefulness, and respect for diversity.